Crowning the storybook village of Gruyères is the town's famed château. Between 1080 and 1554, 19 counts held political power over this region, and they built and expanded this medieval castle. Little is known about them except for the last one, Michel. A lover of luxury and a big spender, he expanded the estates and then fled his creditors in 1555. In 1849 a wealthy Geneva family bought the castle and encouraged painter friends to decorate a room now known as Corot's Room, as it features four of the great painter's landscapes. Also worth seeing is the Knights' Room with its impressive 19th-century fresco cycle depicting local legends, and the aptly named Fantastic Art Room, hung with contemporary work. An 18-minute multimedia show called Gruyères, which brings to life the history of the castle in animated form (available in eight languages), shown daily in the old caretaker's lodge, is worth your time.
Gruyères, Fribourg, Switzerland